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No. 1323
Scout is coming home today.

His mother is sure of it, because she’s marked it on the calendar and has made sure to cross off every day as it passes by. She’s also spent the past few days cleaning almost obsessively, polishing every wood surface to a near-mirror shine and all but eliminating the very concept of dust from her home. Scout’s brothers were recruited to come over and help with the preparations; only two of them came to help with the cleaning, but once cake was mentioned the others were suddenly free that afternoon.

Scout’s mother is in the kitchen, arranging a large banner that says “welcome home” written in large, friendly lettering. Scout’s brothers wrote him more personal welcomes on it, some congratulating him for all the hard work he’s done and some recalling fond memories of kicking his ass on the playground. (“I hope the war wasn’t the same situation but with tougher guys,” one message says.) Though they’ve scattered the usual back-handed compliments throughout the banner, they’ve all missed him more than they could tell. Scout’s mother is at least glad they’ve written something. Being the rambunctious boys they are, they were never very good at expressing their feelings.

They’re scattered throughout the household, some more nervous than others. The second youngest, however, is bristling with excitement.

“Oh, god, I can’t believe he’s finally coming back!” he says, wringing his hands together nervously. He and Scout were nearly inseparable during their childhood.

The second eldest pipes up.

“When that dweeb gets here I’m going to give ‘im a congratulatory noogie. And a wedgie, maybe.”

Though he obviously meant it all in good fun, their mother remembers how much trouble he gave Scout, and recalls with a sour taste in her mouth how many times she’d have to comfort her poor youngest because his brothers were picking on him.

“There’ll be none of that,” she says authoritatively. Worried glances are exchanged. She means business.

“Ma, when’s that little runt gonna get here?”
“We’ve been waiting for hours.”

Some of Scout’s brothers are getting restless, and as they voice their impatience a chorus of agreement echoes throughout the household. They’re anxious more than anything, eager to see what’s happened to the youngest of the family, and as the eldest son regrets that he doesn’t know Scout as well as some of the others do, their mother takes a peek out the window.

A car is approaching.

She gasps lightly, a loud “oh my god he’s here!” escaping her lips, and as she bustles about making everything is exactly the way she envisioned, she can barely believe that it’s finally happening. Between the few letters they exchanged and the very rare phone call, she never thought she’d see her son again. Tears well up in her eyes, and as she wipes them away she tells herself not to be such a sissy about it. Scout would get all embarrassed once he saw his mother was crying, no doubt about that.

Scout’s brothers take up their positions, behind couches and doors, ready to surprise him. The car pulls into the driveway and their mother glances out the window again. She turns to everyone and holds a finger to her lips, reminding them to keep quiet as possible. She never mentioned to Scout that there’d be a party for him when he got back. She never mentioned all the presents she had managed to gather for him, either, but that was for later. Sheepishly, she remembers how much she really did dote on him and treat him like the baby of the family.

He s a man now.

The doorbell rings and there is silence upon silence. Scout’s brothers tense and peek from their hiding places. Their mother takes a deep breath and fixes her hair and tightens her apron, hoping that she hasn’t changed much from what he remembers. Her heart beats loudly within her chest and feels like it’s moving up to her throat. The tears start up again as she smiles so hard her cheeks hurt, and open the door.

“Honey! I’ve missed you so-“

But there is no Scout.

“…much.”

Two men are at the door, dressed in military garb. They each have a badge denoting that they are with RED, and one of them looks very uncomfortable. The other hands Scout’s mother a paper and bows his head.

“I’m very sorry, ma’am.”

She doesn’t even have to look at the paper to know what’s going on. She just holds it, staring into the faces of the men, eyes darting back and forth quickly between the two of them. It had to be some sort of joke. She just got a letter from Scout a few weeks ago, and-

“There was an accident at the base.”

They’re talking but she’s not hearing much of it. She doesn’t want to.

“-nearly the whole RED team-“

She brings herself to look at the paper, hard as it is with her hands trembling, and reads the only words that matter: Death Notice. The tears pouring down her cheeks now aren’t anything like her silly nostalgic tears in the kitchen. She wants to stop, she doesn’t want to do this in front of these men, she doesn’t want to do it here but she /can’t/ stop herself, and as she leans against the doorframe and covers her face with her hands, shoulders trembling horribly, she refuses to believe any of it.

“-gone.”

“No!” she says, looking up with tear-stained cheeks and red eyes. “No, no, no, this isn’t true, this isn’t happening, my son is alive and I just heard from him a week ago, you’re telling me he’s gone?-“

She’s angry now, and as she lashes out at the two men the rest of her sons come out from hiding after hearing the commotion, their faces pale and grim. They gather around their mother, offering sympathetic hugs and comfort.

She wants them to disappear. She wants everything to disappear. All she can think about is her son, the way he talked and how he acted, and the way he said he’d missed her when he was leaving for the war. She doesn’t want to see anyone else now and tells the men so, pointing an accusing finger at them, her eyes looking at them but not really seeing, her ears listening to their apologies but not really hearing.

Her sons thank the men for coming and lead her back into the house, each of them passing around the death notice solemnly. The eldest is trying to console her, his arm around her, but even as he says everything is going to be alright she doesn’t believe it, she just can’t. None of them are quite sure what to do with her, or if she can even hear them at all, and just as they think she’s finished crying she starts up again, harder than before, sobbing and pounding her fist against the table. She speaks through her wailing, and though no one can understand what she is saying they all repeat that they’re there for her, it’s going to be okay.

But even as night falls and after everyone has calmed down and gone to bed after an evening of somber silence, Scout’s mother refuses to go to sleep. She keeps a steady watch at her window, her eyes on the road in the distance. The notice lies on her desk table, crumpled and all but forgotten. Her son is coming home.

She counted it down on the calendar. She is sure of it.
Marked for deletion (old)
>> No. 1324
This is perfect in a sad way.
>> No. 1325
;-;
>> No. 1326
:'(
>> No. 1327
oh my gosh. ;~;
>> No. 1329
;_;
>> No. 1334
:'( omg this is so sad
>> No. 1335
:C
>> No. 1342
brb crying forever
>> No. 1347
I-I-I-I-I--

...

:(
>> No. 1350
ACHE. HEART. ACHE. NNNGH.
>> No. 1351
I saw it coming, but it didn't make it hurt any less ;;
>> No. 1353
TT
>> No. 1417
D:

BWAAAAAAAAAAGGGGGGGGGGGHHHHHHHHH
>> No. 1440
Way to emotionally sucker punch me, now I excuse while I go watch Aladin to cheer up.
>> No. 1518
Ugh... Q.Q Gee thanks, now I need another brownie.


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